Nigel de Jong has questioned the fitness of Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech after watching him at the World Cup today.
Morocco and Croatia played out a 0-0 draw on Wednesday morning to start day four of the World Cup tournament in Qatar.
For Morocco, they’ve welcomed Ziyech back into the squad since a change of management.
The left-footed winger completed 90 minutes during today’s goalless draw, something he’s done just once in nine Chelsea appearances this campaign.
He threatened on a few occasions to create something on the right flank, which is where Morocco did look most dangerous. Unfortunately, his influence did fade as the contest went on.
De Jong, who’s working as a pundit on ITV during the World Cup tournament, has suggested that Ziyech wasn’t 100 per cent fit against Croatia.
“Ziyech, he’s lacking match fitness… You can tell he needs match fitness in order to be decisive… They need to work on his fitness a little bit more,” De Jong told ITV 1 (12:00pm, 23 November).
In fairness, De Jong raises a really valid point.
He’s really not played a lot of football in the last few months, which must be even more frustrating for him when you consider the amount of games played by Chelsea.
The fact he quietened today as the game went on isn’t a surprise, but perhaps this is a tournament he can really grow into with more minutes in his legs.
Morocco looked a fairly solid unit in the draw against the 2018 runners-up Croatia, so perhaps they can do well in this tournament with the solid defensive foundation.
However, they’re going to need some of their attackers to click into gear.
Ziyech is an individual talent capable of turning a game with a piece of skill, something he’s not done enough in Chelsea colours for someone with his ability.
It’s been reported the attacker wants to shine at the World Cup to enhance his chances of a transfer to AC Milan. He may just need to raise the levels a bit against Belgium and Canada for that to be the case, though.
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